This cityguide is not available as a tour on GPSmyCity app. Download now!
When you think travel and tourism in Brussels, think chocolates, art museums, heritage sites, beer bars, cafes, restaurants, street art, fashion, music concerts, parks, and the list could be endless! Historically a Dutch-speaking city, French is the dominant language in Brussels today. The city is becoming more multilingual with migrants and expats coming in and giving it a very cosmopolitan vibe. In just about all aspects, you can be spoilt for choice in this city, so we have put together the best of options for you- some really famous and others still waking up to the world!
Manneken Pis or Pissing Boy
We had to start the Brussels tour with this one because it sure is amusing!! And is one of the many fun things to do in the city. Way back in 1619, when artist Jerome Duquesnoy created this bronze fountain statue, little did he know that it would one day become the most photographed statue! All of 60 cms in height, a small naked boy peeing in a full view is something that has caught the fancy of everyone who has ever stepped into this beautiful city. He also has an extensive wardrobe of over 600 outfits and is changed around 30 times in a year. If that doesn’t amuse you yet, sometimes the statue pisses beer to celebrate with the people of Brussels!
Grand Place…. Brilliant architecture and more!
True to its name, Grand Place is the most famous landmark of Brussels that mesmerizes everyone with its baroque and gothic guildhalls and the 315-foot Brussels Town Hall. A UNESCO world heritage site, the building dates back to the late 17th century. If you plan your trip well, you can catch a glimpse of the square filled with an enormous flower carpet, which happens every second year in August. The square is a place that hosts music concerts throughout the year. It also houses a number of cafes and chocolatiers that are absolutely MUST TRY.
Visit Mini-Europe… feel larger than life
Feel like Gulliver in Lilliput here at Brussels’ own Mini Europe, a miniature model park that displays famous attractions from each European country. Built to a scale of 1 to 25, it’s an adventurous and fun experience to feel larger than the Acropolis of Athens or canals of Old Amsterdam or the Berlin Wall. You can capture almost 350 selfies here with 350 sites inside the park. So, if you have no time to cover entire Europe; Head to Brussels Mini Europe!
Sablon District …. For a stroll out
Strolling through cobbled streets is a must European experience and amongst the top things to do for free in Brussels! The Sablon District has always been a place of the elite and the rich. It has a vibrant history covering 15th century to the 20th, with a number of transitions and changes. Travelers now stroll around the streets to soak in this history. Antique and art lovers can enjoy galleries during the week and antique markets in the weekend. This is where you can end up buying loads of chocolates too, from famous chocolate shops in the area.
Shopping in Brussels… because souvenirs are a must
For the antique lovers, there’s a market in Place du Grand Sablon which will absolutely hook you! The trinket addicts can head to Jeu de Balle Flea Market and those with a fetish for fashion brands there are three galleries – Saint Hubert, Galeries du Roi and Daleries de la Reine. Once you’re done with shopping, feed yourself loads of chocolates from Chocolatier Mary or Wittamer, Godivas, Neuhaus and Leonidas from the many other options. Yes, they are world famous and something you don’t want to miss!
Herge Museum…. Tintin never disappoints
Guys did you know the beloved and supremely famous cartoon character- Tin Tin was created in Belgium? In fact Belgium has produced the largest number of comic-strip creators in the whole world. The Herge Museum is dedicated to the life and work of the creator of Tintin, Georges Remi. Visiting this museum is clearly one of the unique and unusual things to do in Brussels. The building, designed by French architect Christian de Portzamparc, makes for an attractive structure with a sparkling white, minimalist, box-like form. One of the exterior walls of the museum has a larger-than-life-size image of Tintin and the other has Herge’s signature. Just control yourself from saying “Blistering barnacles in a thundering typhoon”, though it won’t be weird here!!
Hard Rock Café
Choose and order from two different menus of classic American-style food here. Meanwhile, enjoy the rock music and memorabilia for which all Hard Rock Cafés around the world, are famous. The café is located inside a restored 16th century building at Grand Place, which adds to the experience. And do not forget to add that one more T-shirt in your Hard Rock collection!!
Neuhaus- oldest chocolate shop
Most of us go weak on knees when it comes to chocolates. And it does not get better than the Belgian one! How can we leave Brussels without giving you that one shop to pick your chocolates from? From a family of inventors, Neuhaus is one of the most famous and oldest chocolatier, which makes luxury chocolates and cookies. Jean Neuhaus founded it in 1857, and in 1912 his grandson invented the chocolate praline. This is perhaps the best place to shop for chocolates to gift your friends back home, with a story wrapped in the delicious chocolatey goodness!
B is for Belgian beers… Nightlife in Brussels
Nightlife in Brussels is synonymous with beer and beer bars. Brussels has a number of breweries and beer bars, and you have to experience it to understand as to why Belgians boast of their beers SO MUCH. Some of the famous Brussels beers are Lambic, Chimay Triple, Faro, Orval, Adelardus Brune, Malheur Blonde, Bourgogne de Flanders, IV Seasons and the delicious Trappist beers. If a pint or more is what you like to enjoy then head to the traditional beer bars in the city- A la Becasse, Le Corbeau and Poechenellekelder. After all when in Brussels, do what “Brusselian” do! That is not a word and we just invented it. Anyways do chill at the old bars, a definite must do.
Get a taste of Belgian cuisine… food in Brussels
Being a tourist city, Brussels has a large variety of restaurants that serve multiple cuisines. What makes the dining experience a memorable one in Brussels is the ambience……. dining in the restaurants that boast of lovely murals and whose walls have been turned into an artiste’s canvas, is not a sight you get to see everywhere! If you are someone who lives in a modern day bustling city then eating in Brussels is something you will really enjoy and look forward to. Some of the restaurants that are definitely not-to-be-skipped.
A display of fresh meat welcomes you in the window, followed by the bustle of a busy kitchen and marine-themed décor. The restaurant specializes in Belgian dishes that mostly focus on seafood and steaks.
Comme Chez Soi
If you like beautiful food presented like an art on the plate, this is the place to be! The restaurant boasts of beautifully prepared and presented French cuisine dishes; add to it the Art-Nouveau style décor and a kitchen in full view, you have perfection laid in front of you!
Le Pain Quotidien
Although now an international chain, eating at this restaurant in Europe cannot be matched with any other place in the world. Freshly baked breads, salads, soups and cheese platters are what this amazing eating place offers. The aroma inside is heavenly and if you don’t want to torture yourself, just don’t go there on an entirely empty stomach!
Another classic dinning experience with stained glass ceilings and marble columns, this restaurant offers a unique mix of cuisines. Travelers have said that the seafood here is delish!
With sights taken in and our tummies full, it is time to say buh-bye to Brussels. But not before we let you know how to get to vibrant Brussels and our top picks of hotels and accommodation here!
How To Reach
By Air: Brussels Airport is an international Airport which has direct flights from various international destinations. Airport itself is about 20 minutes short train ride to Brussels' City Center.
By Train: You can get into Brussels from the neighboring countries by International train connections - EuroStar, TGV and Thalys. Five rail stations serve Brussels and all are interconnected by local as well as international links.
By Road: Brussels has great road connectivity and you can definitely take a road trip to get into Belgium from Amsterdam, France and even London! One can either take Bus or hire a self drive car to get into the country and the city!
Where to Stay
Make your stay at Brussels memorable by staying at our top picks.
We have given options that suit all budgets and pockets but if you want to explore more, do visit our Hotels page because Brussels has soooo much more to offer!
For a true European experience there is no city better than Brussels. Lovely architecture that narrates the history of Brussels, beautiful cuisine and fantastic vistas make Brussels a city made of dreamy plots! If you liked what you read here, do tell us and if we missed something worth a mention, leave that in comments as well!!